Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mayor Barry Promotes “Growth with Intention” Budget

Mayor Barry’s first State of Metro focuses on key priorities of education, transportation, and affordable housing to promote equitable growth and development
Press Release, 4/29/2016, NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Megan Barry delivered her first State of Metro Address today at Ascend Amphitheater before a crowd of more than 1,500 people, pledging to use $121 million in new revenue to make key investments in education, transportation, affordable housing and Metro employees.

Citing Nashville’s record-breaking economic growth as the reason she could introduce a budget that includes no new taxes and grows our fund balance, Mayor Barry said the city needs to strive for “growth with intention, growth with purpose, growth with design and direction.”

“I believe that growth can be equitable, that it can be sustainable, that it can be about people as much as buildings, that it can truly touch the entire community – but only if we guide it and manage it,” Mayor Barry said. “And that’s what we are doing here, with this budget. We are investing new revenues into our people. We are addressing those areas that success has often left behind.
“This budget is about growing the city we want Nashville to be.”

Topping $2 billion for the first time and representing a 6.1 percent increase over the current fiscal year, the budget Mayor Barry is recommending to the Metro Council calls for:
  • $33 million in new revenues for Metro Nashville Public Schools, including funding for teacher pay increases to make the school district more competitive with peer cities; additional investments in literacy programs, and resources for English Language Learners.
  • $2.6 million to fund youth employment opportunities, additional after-school programs, and juvenile justice initiatives.
  • A $10 million increase in the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing, which is by far the largest investment in the fund since its creation in 2013 and will increase its balance to $16 million.
  • A 3.1 percent across-the-board salary increase for Metro employees, combined with adjustments to the city’s pay plan to bring pay grades to market rate.
  • Opening more Nashville Public Library branches on Fridays.
Mayor Barry also highlighted the need to move toward a bold, comprehensive transit plan that will help people move around the growing Nashville region efficiently and build on the city’s recent economic gains.

“The good news is we’re a vibrant, growing community,” she said. “But people need to be able to move about our region, and laying down more asphalt is not a viable option in most places. Cars aren’t going away, but we need to provide better alternatives to cars, so that more people will choose to move about Middle Tennessee without one.”

The Mayor’s capital spending plan, which will be released in May, will include investments to:
  • Spend $40 million to start work on a new Hillsboro High School.
  • Spend $60 million on sidewalks and road paving.
  • Expand our network of greenways.
  • Construct a new library in Donelson.
  • Build the Smith Springs Community Center in Southeast Nashville.
Metro Finance Director Talia Lomax-O’dneal will deliver a more in-depth presentation of the budget proposal to the Metro Council at 1:30PM today in the David Scobey Council Chamber in the Historic Metro Courthouse. Following delivery of the Mayor’s budget proposal, the Council and the Budget & Finance Committee will conduct public hearings as well as hearings with each individual department. The Council is required to pass a balanced budget by June 30, or the Mayor’s recommended budget proposal goes into effect by default. 

The State of Metro ceremony featured Grammy-winning guitarist Peter Frampton, a Nashville resident who remains one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history. At 16, he was lead singer and guitarist for British band the Herd. His session work includes collaborations with such legendary artists as George Harrison, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, John Entwistle and many others. His fifth solo album, the electrifying “Frampton Comes Alive!” is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and remains one of the top-selling live records of all time. Frampton’s latest release, “Acoustic Classics,” features stripped-down versions of his classic hits such as “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Lines On My Face,” “Do You Feel Like I Do,” “Show Me The Way” and many more.

Nashville’s 2016 Youth Poet Laureate, Cassidy Martin, read her poem “Nashvillian,” which details her route through Nashville, pointing out the beauty and security she finds within the city’s hidden treasures. Cassidy has been writing since early middle school. She is a graduate of Jere Baxter Middle School and a sophomore at Nashville Big Picture High School. 

The marching bands from Antioch, Hunters Lane and McGavock high schools also performed, and four faith leaders read blessings for the city in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish.

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